Iceberg Model of Competency

Iceberg Model of Competencies

The iceberg model of competencies, introduced by American psychologist David McClelland, suggests that there are three levels of competencies individuals possess, similar to his human motivation theory. To succeed in different roles, individuals require various competencies.

Here’s what you need to know:

Visible behaviors:

These are the observable behaviors that individuals demonstrate on a day-to-day basis. They are the most visible aspect of competence and include problem-solving skills, communication skills, and technical skills. Visible behaviors are comprised of:

  • Knowledge: Understanding specific information or general principles.
  • Skills: Proficiency in using techniques or methods to perform tasks.
Hidden beliefs and values:

These are the beliefs and values that individuals hold, which may not be immediately visible in their behavior. Examples include integrity, empathy, and cultural awareness. They can be divided into:

  • Social role: Playing a specific role in a social context, such as teamwork or leadership.
  • Self-image: Perception of one’s own abilities and self-confidence.
Unconscious assumptions and biases:

These are the deeply ingrained assumptions and biases that individuals hold, which may be outside of their conscious awareness. Examples include gender, race, and other biases that individuals may not even be aware of. They consist of:

  • Traits: Personal qualities, such as adaptability, creativity, and initiative.
  • Motivations: Driving factors, such as achievement, affiliation, and power.

The iceberg model of competencies provides a useful framework for assessing individuals based on critical competencies. With a comprehensive understanding of competence, organizations and individuals can make more effective decisions regarding hiring, training, and development.